The Father's Heart Revealed
by Bobby Conner

Forgive" has to be one of the most liberating and exhilarating words known to mankind. The fact that God is willing, even longing, to forgive fallen man is vital. To ponder the thought that by God's divine grace, we are being delivered from the bondage of sin's relentless darkness and deep despair, and releasing within us rays of hope. It is completely beyond the mind of man to be able to comprehend the awesome grace and mercy of God, whereby God restores us unto fellowship with Himself.

The angels that rebelled never knew one single moment of divine grace, which would have offered them the place of restoration and repentance. Yet, God in His tender mercy continues to plead with fallen mankind to turn from sin to eternal salvation. There is no sin so shockingly wicked that blocks God's mercy and forgiveness. God pleads with a wicked, wayward people,
"Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they can be washed as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool," (Isaiah 1:18).

On the other hand, neither is sin so trivial that it negates the need for God's extended mercy. Never forget it is the little foxes that spoil the vine (see
Song of Songs 2:15). We must not fall prey to the enemy's deception, which wants us to believe God is only concerned about the big sin issues in our lives. There is nothing too big or too little to deal with. Now is the time each of us must deal radically with what has separated us from God. God not only wants to remove our glaring flaws, He wants to remove every small stain upon our heart. He knows that only those with clean hands and pure hearts will ascend into the presence of the Lord.

God is Both the Source and Substance of our Forgiveness

The source of our forgiveness is the heart of God. "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared," (Psalm 130:34). The substance that provides the power of our forgiveness is the blood of Christ. The following song, written in the mid 1800's, poses a very powerful pointed question, "What can wash away my sin?." Let the powerful words of this song penetrate deep within your soul.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing, this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit inspired Paul the Apostle, to pen these words in
Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." The riches of God's grace have purchased our forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. Christ, when He instituted communion, reminded us that the forgiveness of our sins is in His blood, "For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins," (Matthew 26:28).

Again, the songwriter penned these thought provoking words, "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emanuel's veins, and sinners plunged beneath its flood lose all their guilt and stain. Have you been to Jesus for His cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the Lamb"? Such words seem strange to the ears of a carnal church. (In fact, much of the unbelieving "church" has been busily removing such songs from their hymnals.) The words of another old song ring in my thoughts, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry. From the waters lifted me, now safe am I." What an awesome God we serve, willing to hear our cries of deep desperation, and extend His hand of mercy to pull us from the sea of sin.

Scripture States "Those Who Have Been Forgiven Much, Love Much"

Each of us should pour out our life in love to the Lord; for we were bound in the bondage of sin, deep within a horrible pit. In His loving kindness, God came and reached down to us, and through forgiveness, He lifted us out of the miry clay and freed us from the pit of sin. "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock," (Psalm 40:12).

Jesus releases to us great insights into God's heart of restoration and forgiveness, in the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:1124:

    "And He said, 'A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.' So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."

In this passage, we discover the high cost for low living. The son set out to spend his inheritance on "high living," only to end up in one of the lowest places. Nevertheless, we see the Father's heart to embrace the broken, repentant son. Once the Lord said to me, "If you would preach repentance like I mean it, you will see more people do it." The word "repent" can be broken down like this: "re" means "to put back," and "pent" means "the highest place." Thus, when we repent, God picks us up and replaces us to the highest place. This is the revelation of the prodigal son, from the pig pen of sin to the father's loving embrace!

It is Crucial that We Gain a Much Clearer Comprehension of Forgiveness

There are two aspects of forgiveness we need revelation about--God's divine forgiveness for our sins, as well as our need to forgive others for their offences against us. Only as we experience both, will we be equipped to walk an upright, victorious life.

Immense is the value of the life-altering directive given in
Ephesians 4:2932, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

Notice the motivating factor--we have received the tender mercy of God applied to our life. Now we should want to extend mercy to all, just as God has to us. You might protest saying, "You just don't know what harm they did to me." That is true, however, whatever someone has done to us cannot begin to compare to what we have done to Christ. Nevertheless, God in His tender mercy has forgiven us. It is with this same mercy that we should forgive one another.

Men and women who do not know forgiveness, carry their moral void with them into every area of their daily lives. Un-forgiveness fosters bitterness, anger, and all types of malice, which are key elements in sickness. Remember, it is a merry heart that does good like a medicine. The person who does not know forgiveness is someone void of true peace.

The Prophet Nehemiah reminds us of our stubbornness and God's longsuffering. We discover that God longs to release forgiveness to each of us in
Nehemiah 9:17, "They refused to listen and did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; so they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness; and You did not forsake them."

From this passage notice some of God's attributes:
God is a God of wondrous, miraculous works.
God is a God of forgiveness.
God is a God of grace.
God is a God of compassion.
God is a God who is slow to anger.
God is a God who is overflowing in loving kindness.
God is a God who does not forsake.

The Prophet's words assist us to better understand that God is a God of love and mercy, longing to release to each one of us, a much better life than we could ever conceive for ourselves. God longs to release us into a life of victory that results into a bright future for now and eternity. Now is the time to cast all our cares completely upon Christ, knowing He is a faithful friend--ready and willing to bear us through every issue of life. Open wide your heart and experience the Father's heart of forgiveness.